Paint, Gasoline and Chemical Dispoal

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 paint cansWhat can I do with old paint, gasoline or chemicals from my home?


Maybe you’ve recently bought an existing house, or a loved one has passed and you’re cleaning out their house. There, in the garage, crawlspace or outbuilding sits a dusty shelf loaded with a cob-webbed variety of who-knows-what. Old cans of paint, solvents, spray insecticides, liquid fertilizers – maybe even a can of gasoline that you wouldn’t dare to even try in your old lawnmower. Dumping them down the drain or putting them in the trash doesn’t seem quite right, but what exactly are you supposed to do with all this junk? One lesson should be apparent: the next time you have to buy this sort of material, consider how much you really need for the job, and whether there are any less-toxic alternatives.



If you were a business generating this sort of waste, you would be required to track generation and disposal, and pay very high disposal costs to have the material safely removed and either recycled (most likely blended into fuels for industrial furnaces and boilers) or disposed in a hazardous waste landfill. However, state and federal laws provide an exemption for residents; you can legally throw this material in the garbage. However, the material must be a solid; garbage trucks are not allowed to pick up liquid waste.

Gas CansFor those interested in pursuing a more environmentally friendly remedy, MKC of Doraville Ga. (770-457-1341) is one of the few companies that will accept small amounts of Household Hazardous Waste from individuals, for a small fee.

The processes described here basically involve either solidifying wastes for disposal via regular garbage service, or evaporation. With both of the basic below steps, you want to work outside, and wear rubber gloves and eye protection. Never mix more than one material as you’re preparing the items for disposal.


Before you dispose of a full can of paint, think of those less fortunate.  The Habitat for Humanity Restore located at 1004 Walton Way Augusta, GA  30909 will accept cans of paint.  Call (706) 364-7637 for hours of operation and donation specifics.




The idea here is to make the liquids solid. Sawdust or shredded newspaper will work, but for any real quantity you’ll want to get some kitty litter, cheaper at auto parts stores; ask for oil dry. Double-line a garbage can with plastic garbage bags, add some oil dry and then some liquid waste. Work outside, away from access by children or animals. When the material is solidified, tie up the bag and it can then go into the regular trash. Be sure not to get the bag so heavy that you can’t handle it, or that it ruptures.


Work outside, away from access by children and animals. If there is just a trace amount of fuel in the container, simply open the top and let it evaporate. If you have more than a very little bit, you'll want to accelerate the process. Get some sort of disposable metal tray (an aluminum foil roasting pan is ideal) and pour a half-inch of fuel into the tray. The increased surface area will allow the fuel to

evaporate much more quickly. Repeat this process until the fuel is gone, and then recycle or reuse the containers if possible.

The foil tray can be recycled with scrap aluminum; if you're leery of having the fuel-coated foil around your house until you can recycle it then wad up the tray, wrap it in a few layers of newspaper and put it in a sturdy plastic garbage bag. Then it can be disposed of in your regular household trash.

 The best way to get rid of leftover products is to use them up or give them away to someone who can use them.



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